El Centro Fellows

The El Centro Fellows have expertise in and commitment to Latin America, support SWJ's particular focus on the small wars in the region, and agree with SWJ's general approach to advancing discussion and awareness in the field through community dialog and publishing.

El Centro Associates are actively engaged in research or practice in the region and in transnational organized crime or insurgency.  The Fellows have already made significant and distinguished contributions to the field through the course of their career.  The Senior Fellows are Fellows that are central to producing SWJ El Centro and are very active in managing our work in this focus area.

Senior Fellows




Past Fellows


In alphabetical order, by last name:

Luis Astorga holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Paris 1. He is a researcher at the Institute of Social Research of the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM–Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México); coordinator of the UNESCO Chair “Economic and social transformations connected with the international drug problem;” member of the National System of Researchers (SNI) and the Mexican Academy of Sciences (AMC); Author of: Seguridad, traficantes y militares (Security, drug traffickers and the military), México, Tusquets, 2007; Drogas sin fronteras (Drugs without borders), México, Grijalbo, 2003; El siglo de las drogas (The drugs century), México, Plaza y Janés, 2005 (Espasa-Calpe, 1996); and Mitología del ‘narcotraficante’ en México (Drug trafficker’s mythology in Mexico), México, UNAM/Plaza y Valdés, 1995. He has also published chapters in books, and articles about drug trafficking in México in scientific journals from Mexico, The United States of America, Colombia, France, Italy, India, Great Britain and Belgium.

Robert J. Bunker is 2015 Futurist in Residence with the FBI Academy, Quantico, VA and an Adjunct Research Professor, Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College, Carlisle, PA. He is also adjunct faculty, Division of Politics and Economics, Claremont Graduate University, and Non-Resident Fellow, Counter-Terrorism, TRENDS Research & Advisory, Abu Dhabi. He is a former Minerva Chair and Distinguished Visiting Professor, Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College. He holds a PhD in political science from the Claremont Graduate University, five other university degrees, and has both undertaken and provided counter-terrorism related training. He has hundreds of publications including numerous edited works, booklets, chapters, and articles in policy, law enforcement, and military venues. Past associations include the Los Angeles High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (LA-HIDTA); Counter-OPFOR Corporation; University of Southern California; National Law Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center—West; National Security Studies Program, Cal State San Bernardino; and the Los Angeles Terrorism Early Warning Group.

Irina Chindea is a Ph.D. candidate in the International Security Studies Program at the Fletcher School, Tufts University in Boston, MA. In 2012, Irina conducted extensive field research in Mexico, Colombia, El Salvador, and Canada for her doctoral dissertation on patterns of cooperation and conflict among criminal groups active in strong and weak states. Irina’s research interests include irregular warfare and asymmetric threats, the nexus between finance and the activities of non-state armed groups, intelligence, and the interplay between formal and informal governance structures, with a regional focus on Latin America and Southwest Asia.

Patrick Corcoran is an analyst for InSight Crime who specializes in Mexican security. A former resident of Torreón, in northern Mexico, Patrick also writes the blog Norteando for the Mexican magazine Este País. Patrick has written extensively about Mexican politics and security, publishing pieces in outlets like World Politics Review, Harvard International Review, and Foreign Policy in Focus. Patrick is presently pursuing an MA at the Johns Hopkins School for Advanced International Studies, with a concentration in Latin American studies and emerging markets.

Vanda Felbab-Brown is a fellow in Foreign Policy at the Brookings Institution, in the 21st Century Defense Initiative and the Latin America Initiative. She is an expert on illicit economies and international and internal conflicts and their management, including counterinsurgency. She focuses particularly on South Asia, Burma, the Andean region, Mexico, and Somalia. Dr. Felbab-Brown is the author of Shooting Up: Counterinsurgency and the War on Drugs (Brookings Institution Press, 2009) which examines military conflict and illegal economies in Colombia, Peru, Afghanistan, Burma, Northern Ireland, India, and Turkey. She is also the author of numerous policy reports, academic articles, and opeds. A frequent commentator in U.S. and international media, Dr. Felbab-Brown regularly testifies on these issues in the U.S. Congress. She received her Ph.D. in political science from MIT and her B.A. from Harvard University.

José de Arimatéia da Cruz is a Visiting Research Professor, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Barracks, Carlisle, PA. He is also a Professor of International Relations and Comparative Politics, Department of Criminal Justice, Social & Political Science, Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah, Georgia. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio; M.A. in Political Science/Political Philosophy, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio; M.S. in Criminal Justice (Cyber Affairs and Security) Armstrong Atlantic State University, Savannah, Georgia; and B.A. in Philosophy, Wright State University, Dayton, Ohio. He has published in the Journal of Politics & PolicyStudies Revue Canadienne des Etudes Latino-Americaines et Caraib, Law Enforcement Executive Forum, International Social Science Review, The Latin Americanist, Latin American Politics and Society, and Journal of Third World Studies.

Steven S. Dudley is the co-director of InSight, a new non-profit initiative with offices in Bogotá and Washington DC that monitors organized crime in the Americas. He is the former Bureau Chief of The Miami Herald in the Andean Region and the author of Walking Ghosts: Murder and Guerrilla Politics in Colombia (Routledge, 2004). Dudley has also reported from Mexico, Haiti, Brazil, Nicaragua, Cuba, and Miami for National Public Radio, the BBC, and The Washington Post, among others.  In addition to his work at InSight, he has done a documentary film on the life and career of a lawyer that defends Colombian drug traffickers and paramilitaries, and he has written policy briefs for the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars and the International Crisis Group. Dudley has a B.A. in Latin American History from Cornell University and an M.A. in Latin American Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. He has won numerous journalism prizes and was awarded the prestigious Knight Fellowship at Stanford University in 2007.

Gary J. Hale is a law enforcement and intelligence professional who retired from the federal government in 2010 after a 37-year career with various intelligence community and federal law enforcement agencies. His last assignment was as the Chief of Intelligence in the Houston Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Hale also served with the Army Security Agency from 1972-1978 throughout Europe. He joined the DEA in 1979 while serving as a Task Force Agent and Narcotics Officer detached from the Laredo, Texas Police Department where he served from 1978-1979.  While at DEA he served at the El Paso Intelligence Center (EPIC), La Paz, Bolivia, Bogotá, Colombia, New Orleans, Boston, and Washington, D.C. Hale was also assigned as the DEA intelligence chief at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City where he participated in the hunt for Amado Carrillo-Fuentes, the “Lord of the Skies.” In 2011 and 2012, he served as the Law Enforcement-Intelligence Program Coordinator for the Merida Initiative at the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City.  Hale has a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science (Franklin Pierce University), a Master’s Degree in Judicial Policy (Universidad de Almería, España), and is an alumnus of the Harvard University Kennedy School of Government and the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Leadership. In 2010, Hale was appointed as a Drug Policy Fellow at the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston, Texas.

Nathan Jones is a post-doctoral fellow at the Baker Institute of Public policy at Rice University specializing in drug policy. He holds a PhD from the University of California, Irvine. He participated in the National Defense Intelligence College-University of San Diego Mexico Project. He presented his work "The Four Phases of the Arellano Felix Organization" at the University of Guadalajara, the University of San Diego and the National Defense Intelligence College in Washington, D.C. He also served as an adjunct instructor at the University of San Diego, Trans-Border Institute.

Paul Rexton Kan is currently an Associate Professor of National Security Studies and the Henry L. Stimson Chair of Military Studies at the US Army War College. He is also the author of the book Drugs and Contemporary Warfare (Potomac Books, 2009). He recently completed field research along the US-Mexico border for his forthcoming book, Cartels at War: Mexico's Drug Fueled Violence and the Threat to US National Security (Potomac Books).

Robert Killebrew is a private consultant in national defense issues. He is a retired Army infantry colonel with service in U.S. Army Special Forces and airborne units, and he has taught national and military strategy at the Army War College. He is a Non-Resident Senior Fellow with the Center for a New American Security and co-author of Crime Wars; Gangs, Cartels and U.S. National Security (CNAS, 2010).

Samuel Logan is the Managing Director of Southern Pulse, a field-based professional services firm focused on Latin America. Mr. Logan holds an MA from the Monterrey Institute of International Studies, where he focused on black markets. From 1998 to 2009, Mr. Logan lived and worked in Latin America as an investigative journalist, reporting on security, energy, politics, economics, organized crime, terrorism and black markets in the region. He is the author of This is for the Mara Salvatrucha: Inside the MS-13, America’s Most Violent Gang (Hyperion, 2009), and is co-author with George w. Grayson of The Executioner’s Men: Inside Los Zetas (to be published by Transaction Press in March 2012).

Sylvia Longmire is a former Air Force officer and Special Agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, where she specialized in counterintelligence, counterespionage, and force protection analysis. After being medically retired in 2005, Ms. Longmire worked for four years as a Senior Intelligence Analyst for the California State Terrorism Threat Assessment Center, providing daily situational awareness to senior state government officials on southwest border violence and significant events related to the drug war in Mexico. She received her Master’s degree from the University of South Florida in Latin American and Caribbean Studies, with a focus on the Cuban and Guatemalan revolutions. She is an award-winning correspondent for Homeland Security Today magazine, and collaborates regularly with the producers of National Geographic Channel’s “Border Wars” series. Ms. Longmire is regularly interviewed by national, international, and local media outlets, including Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, PBS, BBC News, CBC, and Al Jazeera-English for her knowledge and expertise on border violence issues. Her first book, Cartel: The Coming Invasion of Mexico’s Drug Wars, was published in September 2011, and she has written for numerous peer-reviewed journals and online publications. Ms. Longmire is currently a consultant and freelance writer, and serves as an expert witness in US asylum cases involving Mexican nationals.

Molly Molloy is a research librarian and border and Latin American specialist at the New Mexico State University Library in Las Cruces, NM. She is the creator and editor of the Frontera List, a forum for news and discussion of border issues. Since 2008 she has provided detailed documentation of homicides in Mexico, with an emphasis on Ciudad Juarez. More than 11,000 people have been murdered in Juarez since 2008, making that border city the epicenter of the recent hyperviolence in Mexico. She translated and co-edited El Sicario: The Autobiography of a Mexican Assassin (Nation Books, 2011) and has written for The Nation, Phoenix New Times [here and here], Narco News Bulletin, and other publications. Molloy is often called upon to consult with academic researchers, attorneys and journalists about the violence in Mexico. 

Luz E. Nagle is a former Colombian judge and a Professor of Law at Stetson University College of Law, specializing in international law and international criminal law.  She serves as an External Researcher in the Strategic Studies Institute of the U.S. Army War College, and has been involved as a trainer and advisor in several rule of law and military reform projects sponsored by the U.S. Departments of Defense, Justice, and State in Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, and Panama.  She is active in several international legal societies and currently holds seats on the ABA’s Criminal Justice Council and on the International Bar Association’s Legal Practice Division Council.  Her scholarship focuses on U.S. foreign policy and regional security in the Americas, internal armed conflict, and transborder crime.

Byron Ramirez is an analyst who specializes in international political and economic affairs.  He is a Ph.D. Candidate in Economics and Political Science at Claremont Graduate University and holds an M.A. in Economics, a M.S. in Management, and an MBA.  His areas of research include geopolitics, globalization, economic and social development, and informal economies. His most recent publication is the co-edited work Narco Armor: Improvised Armored Fighting Vehicles in Mexico. Fort Leavenworth, KS: U.S. Army Foreign Military Studies Office.

Eduardo Salcedo-Albarán is the current Director of SciVortex. By applying artificial intelligence, neuroscience and social networks analysis, he has researched in the areas of transnational organized crime, kidnapping, corruption, drug-trafficking and State Capture. He served as advisor for the Colombian Presidency and security agencies in Colombia. He has also worked with foundations, institutes, and public and private agencies in Latin America and the United States. He is part of EDGE Foundation, composed by thinkers “who are at the center of today's intellectual, technological, and scientific landscape”. Some of his books: Corrupción, Cerebro y Sentimientos (2007), La Mente Inorgánica (2009), El Crimen Como Oficio (2007), La Captura y Reconfiguración Cooptada del Estado (2009), and Illicit Networks Reconfiguring States: Social Network Analysis of Colombian and Mexican Cases (2010).

Robert H. Scales is one of America’s best known and most respected authorities on land warfare. He is currently President of Colgen, Inc, a consulting firm specializing in issues relating to landpower, wargaming and strategic leadership. Prior to joining the private sector Dr. Scales served over thirty years in the Army, retiring as a Major General. He commanded two units in Vietnam, winning the Silver Star for action during the battles around Dong Ap Bia (Hamburger Hill) during the summer of 1969. Subsequently, he served in command and staff positions in the United States, Germany, and Korea and ended his military career as Commandant of the United States Army War College. He is the author of Certain Victory, Firepower in Limited War, Future Warfare, Yellow Smoke: the Future of Land Warfare for America’s Military, The Iraq War: a Military History (with Williamson Murray), and Texas Border Security: A Strategic Military Assessment (with Barry McCaffrey). He is a graduate of West Point and earned his PhD in history from Duke University.

John P. Sullivan is a career police officer. He currently serves as a lieutenant with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. He is also an adjunct researcher at the Vortex Foundation in Bogotá, Colombia; a senior research fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies on Terrorism (CAST); and a senior fellow at Small Wars Journal-El Centro. He is co-editor of Countering Terrorism and WMD: Creating a Global Counter-Terrorism Network (Routledge, 2006) and Global Biosecurity: Threats and Responses (Routledge, 2010) and co-author of Mexico’s Criminal Insurgency: A Small Wars Journal-El Centro Anthology (iUniverse, 2011) and Studies in Gangs and Cartels (Routledge, 2013). He completed the CREATE Executive Program in Counter-Terrorism at the University of Southern California and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Government form the College of William and Mary, a Master of Arts in Urban Affairs and Policy Analysis from the New School for Social Research, and a PhD, doctorate in Information and Knowledge Society, from the Internet Interdisciplinary Institute (IN3) at the Open University of Catalonia (Universitat Oberta de Catalunya) in Barcelona. His doctoral thesis was ‘Mexico’s Drug War: Cartels, Gangs, Sovereignty and the Network State.” His current research focus is the impact of transnational organized crime on sovereignty in Mexico and other countries.

George W. Grayson was a founding El Centro fellow until his death in 2015.  He was 1938 Professor of Government Emeritus at the College of William and Mary. He was a specialist on Latin American Politics, with a particular interest in Mexico. He wrote over 30 books and monographs on international affairs.  Most recently, these include The Cartels: The Story of Mexico's Most Dangerous Criminal Organizations and Their Impact on U.S. Security (Prager, 2013) and The Executioner’s Men: Inside Los Zetas (co-authored with Sam Logan, Transaction Press, 2012).  His other publications include: Consequences of Vigilantism in Mexico for the United States (Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, 2011); Mexico: Narco-Violence and a Failed State? (Transaction, 2010), La Familia Drug Cartel: Implications for U.S.-Mexican Security (Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, 2010); Mexico’s Struggle with Drugs and Thugs (Foreign Policy Association, 2009); and Mexican Messiah: Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (Penn State University Press, 2007). He served as a member of  the Virginia House of Delegates for 27 years and was a Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic & International Studies in Washington, D.C. and an Associate Scholar of the Foreign Policy Research Institute in Philadelphia. Grayson earned his B.A. at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill), his M.A. and Ph.D. at the Johns Hopkins University (Nitze School of Advanced International Studies), and a J.D. at the William and Mary's Marshall-Wythe School of Law.  He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa.

Graham H. Turbiville, Jr. was involved as a founding El Centro fellow until his death in April, 2012. He was a Senior Consultant and Researcher for Courage Service, Inc., McLean, Virginia (a Centra Technology Company), addressing Department of Defense and Intelligence Community programs dealing with cultural and geographic assessments in several areas of the world; a Senior Consultant for the Tribal Analysis Center, Leesburg, Virgina, producing history-based assessments of tribal/clan societies in contemporary war and conflict; and an Associate Fellow with the US Special Operations Command/ Joint Special Operations University (USSOCOM/JSOU). Earlier, Dr. Turbiville served 30 years in intelligence community analytical and leadership positions at the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Department of the Army. These included as director/chief of long-range and current intelligence offices and directorates, director of a Joint Reserve Intelligence Center, and other assignments dealing with foreign combined arms, security, and special operations forces.

Diana Washington Valdez is an author, journalist and educator in El Paso, Texas. She has reported for more than 25 years on such topics as U.S.-Mexico relations, NAFTA, the U.S.-Mexico border, immigration, security, the economy, U.S. military issues, U.S. wars, drug-trafficking and transnational crime. She has received more than 30 international, national and regional awards and recognitions for her journalism and defense of human rights. She has master’s degree in political science and a bachelor’s degree in journalism, both from the University of Texas at El Paso. She has taught political science for 10 years, and has collaborated with other academics, journalists and advocates on projects in the United States, Mexico and other countries. She has presented at conferences coast to coast and in other countries. She has been interviewed by the New York Times, CNN, Al Jazeera, Televisa, National Public Radio, Univision and others. She is retired from the Army National Guard, where she served as an NCO and held a top secret clearance. She is the author of the book The Killing Fields: Harvest of Women (Cosecha de Mujeres, Spanish edition); her forthcoming books are Mexican Roulette: Last Cartel Standing, (pending release), and The Desert Killer (with Trish Long).